Grizzlies Celebrate Seniors,  Topple Knights, 6-2

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Coming off an 8-1 win against the Ripon Christian Knights on the road Tuesday, the Grizzlies returned to Ed Vegley Field for their final home game of the season. As such, four seniors took to the field with their families for recognition before the first pitch.

Landon Robinson (starting shortstop), Lucas Leonard (starting pitcher), Andres Ibarra (starting second baseman), and Devon Burrell (team manager) each had their names and colleges they chose to attend announced to the crowd over the loudspeaker.

The senior Leonard took the mound and was immediately tested by the Knights. Starting the game with back-to-back walks didn’t bode well for the Grizzlies. A fly-out to the freshman right fielder Lucas Ibarra advanced the Knights’ two runners and soon, one would come around to score on a passed ball. Another walk followed and the situation looked dim for Mariposa. Luckily third baseman Taxtyn Weiland made a double play on a ground ball smacked off the bat of one of RC’s hitters, and the Grizzlies made it out of the first just down by one.

Senior Andres Ibarra (No. 1) flies through the air diving safely across home plate for the Grizzlies’ first run of the game. (Photo by Tammi Richards)

Mariposa’s offense was quick to get some momentum going in its favor with a leadoff walk. Smart baserunning allowed the senior Andres Ibarra to make his way to third, shortly followed by a fly ball hit to leftfield, signaling Ibarra to tag up and dash for home. The throw from the Knights’ outfield was on target, but Ibarra was just too quick as he slid across home plate, resulting in a cloud of dust and fan cheers as the Grizzlies tied things up.

The second frame was also favorable for Mariposa as Leonard buckled down and got three back-to-back strikeouts for his team. On offense, the Grizzlies were quick to get some runners back on base and play some small ball. Another steal at home on a passed ball made the score 2-1, Grizzlies.

Senior Lucas Leonard (No. 3) delivers the pitch during his last home league game as a Grizzly. (Photo by Tammi Richards)

Leonard continued his solid pitching in the following inning with two more strikeouts and a grounder that he scooped up himself and tossed to first for the out. However, when the Grizzlies came up to bat things got very interesting.

Robinson stepped in to lead off the frame and cracked a double down the leftfield line. Up next, notorious slugger Jake Ogilby trotted into the box and smashed a fastball deep into dead-center and way over the fence for a two-run homer.

Drama quickly struck as he rounded the bases and the Knights head coach screamed at Ogilby, “Don’t flip the bat at my dugout!” Ogilby insisted there was no malicious intent as he returned to his team’s dugout; he was just having fun and celebrating as any ballplayer would after hitting a moonshot of a homer.

Mariposa wouldn’t make light of the situation as Leonard came up to bat next and hit a homer of his own, much to the dismay of the opposition’s head coach. The Grizzlies held a 5-1 lead going into the fourth. The Knights answered back immediately after the events of the third with a lead off double and, after two flyball outs, came around to score on a single, changing the score to 5-2.

Senior Landon Robinson (No. 17) delivers the throw to first base during his last league game as a Grizzly. (Photo by Tammi Richards)

Both teams remained mostly quiet until the bottom of the fifth when Ogilby was due to lead off for the Grizzlies. While most players would have been a little shaken by what happened previously, it seems all that situation did was fire up Ogilby as, much to the delight of the home team’s fans, he crushed another homerun over the fence making the score 6-2.

The Grizzlies were able to deter Ripon’s offense all the way into the final frame, the top of the seventh. Ogilby now came in from the outfield to take to the mound as the team’s closer. He fired away at the opposition getting two back-to-back strikeouts and finished off the game with a soft pop-out to shortstop Robinson.

The Grizzlies now head into the Southern League playoffs, sharing first place with Orestimba. Ripon falls to second place because of their two losses to Mariposa.

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